The Paramount Theatre announces Summer Classic Film lineup; goes digital

It’s repertory season, also known as summer, which means the lineup for the 2016 Summer Classic film series at the Paramount and Stateside Theatres is out now.

2016 marks 41 years of Paramount’s signature classic films series, which goes from May 26 through September 4. Film tickets are on sale now at austintheatre.org.

This year, the Paramount unveils a new digital projection system, new sound system and  new screen (they will retain the capacity to screen 35mm and 70mm prints whenever available).

Before the series formally starts, look for the “Bridesmaids” Pub Run May 24. There will be booze and then a screening of Paul Feig’s modern comedy classic.

MPW-11602This year’s series once again kicks-off with Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca” as the opening night film with screenings May 26 and 27.

The popular Martinis & Manicures event returns July 10 with, as one might imagine, martinis and manicures before a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike.”

Additionally, Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam (a former Dripping Springs resident who moved to North Carolina in 2014) will return July 22 for a special screening of Austin filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s”Computer Chess.”

There are a whole mess of anniversary screenings this year.

Look for 75th anniversary presentations of the 1941 classics “The Maltese Falcon” and “Citizen Kane” as well as the 100th anniversary of  D.W. Griffiths’ “Intolerance,” the 80th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s still-perfect “Modern Times,” and the 95th anniversary of Chaplin’s “The Kid,” which screen in a new digital restoration.

Also look for the 50th anniversary of Sergio Leone‘s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” the 20th anniversary of the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” and Baz Luhrmann’s  “Romeo + Juliet.”

The Family Film Festival series kicks off with a double feature of Joe Pytka’s “Space Jam” and Michael Pressman’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” on June 5, and a special 50th anniversary screening of Les Martinson’s “Batman: The Movie” (aka Batman ’66), July 30.

To celebrate the end of primary season, expect the Leo McCarey’s Marx brothers movie “Duck Soup,” Alan J Pakula’s “All the President’s Men,” John Fankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and more.

There are musicals and science-fiction, foreign films and  “Grease” sing-along. In late August, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean will be feted with screenings of Howard Hawks’ “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot,” Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” Nicholas Ray’s “Rebel Without a Cause” and George Stevens’ “Giant” (the latter turns 60 this year).  The Summer Classic Film Series closes Sept. 4 with “Gone with the Wind.”

There are a couple of ticketing options.

Tickets are available online, by phone, or at Paramount Box Office.  General Admission is  $12, Film Fan Admission is $7. The Film Fan program involves free admission to two member parties, reserved seating, discounted tickets and more. Full details available online at www.austintheatre.org/filmfan.

The Flix Tix program gives you a book of 10 admissions, good in any combination to the Paramount’s Summer Classic Film Series for only $60 ($50 for Film Fans).

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Here is a the full slate.  Films screening at the Paramount will be marked with a (P), while films screening at Stateside will be marked with a (S). DCP means the print is digital.

 

(P) “Casablanca” (1942, 102min/b&w, 35mm)  7pm Thurs 5/26, 9pm Fri 5/27.

(P) “The Maltese Falcon” (1941, 100min/b&w, DCP)  Directed by John Huston. 9pm Thurs 5/26, 7pm Fri 5/27.

(P) “The Third Man” (1949, 104min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Carol Reed. 3pm Sat 5/28, 4:15pm Sun 5/29.

(P) “Citizen Kane” (1941, 119min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Orson Welles. 5pm Sat 5/28, 2pm Sun 5/29.

(P) “The Thin Man” (1934, 93min/b&w, 35mm)  Directed by W.S. Van Dyke. 7pm Tues 5/31.

8be67ff49a859cf843760b167c5b7bc5(P) “Cabaret” (1972, 124min/color, DCP) Directed by Bob Fosse.  8:50pm Tues 5/31.

(P) “Labyrinth” (1986, 102min/color, 35mm) Directed by Jim Henson. 7pm Thurs 6/2.

(P) “Purple Rain” (1984, 111min/color, DCP) Directed by Albert Magnoli. 9pm Thurs 6/2.

(P) “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964, 94min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 7pm Fri 6/3.

(P) “The Shining” (1980, 144min/color, 35mm) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 8:55pm Fri 6/3.

(P) “Space Jam” (1996, 88min/color, DCP) Directed by Joe Pytka. 2pm Sun 6/5.

(P) “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” (1991, 90min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Pressman. 3:45pm Sun 6/5.

(P) “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939, 129min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Frank Capra. 7pm Tues 6/7, 8:25pm Wed 6/8.

(P) “Duck Soup” (1933, 70min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Leo McCarey. 9:25pm Tues 6/7, 7pm Wed 6/8.duck_soup_xlg

(S) “All the President’s Men” (1976, 139min/color, DCP) Directed by Alan J. Pakula. 7pm Thurs 6/9.

(P) “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962, 126min/b&w, DCP)  2:45pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “The Great Dictator” (1940, 126min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 5:05pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “Dumbo” (1941, 64min/color, DCP) Directed by Ben Sharpsteen. 1pm Sun 6/12.

(P) “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962, 123min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by John Ford. 7pm Mon 6/13, 9:15pm Tues 6/14.

(P) “The Searchers” (1956, 119min/color, 35mm) Directed by John Ford.  9:20pm Mon 6/13, 7pm Tues 6/14.

(P) “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (1966, 179min/color, DCP) Directed by Sergio Leone. 7pm Wed 6/15.

(P) “Shane” (1953, 118min/color, DCP) Directed by George Stevens. 7pm Thurs 6/16.

(P) “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by George Roy Hill.  9:15pm Thurs 6/16.

Stagecoach_US_half2(S) “Stagecoach” (1939, 96min/b&w, DCP) Directed by John Ford.  7pm Fri 6/17.

(S) “High Noon” (1952, 85min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Fred Zinnemann. 8:55pm Fri 6/17.

(S) “A Little Princess” (1995, 97min/color, digital) Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.  1pm Sat 6/18.

(S) “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975, 133min/color, DCP) Directed by Milos Forman.  3:15pm Sat 6/18, 4:35pm Sun 6/19.

(S) “A Clockwork Orange” (1971, 136min/color, DCP) Directed by Stanley Kubrick.  7pm Sat 6/18, 2pm Sun 6/19.

(P) “All About Eve” (1950, 138min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.   7pm Tues 6/21, 9:05pm Wed 6/22.full.allabouteve-24623__58879.1462509140.360.360

(P) “Double Indemnity” (1944, 107min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Billy Wilder. 9:35pm Tues Tues 6/21, 7pm Wed 6/22.

(S) “Laura” (1944, 88min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Otto Preminger. 7pm Thurs 6/23.

(S) “Fargo” (1996, 98min/color, DCP) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. 8:45pm Thurs 6/23.

(P) “Blazing Saddles” (1974, 95min/color, DCP) 7pm Fri 6/24.

(P) “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984, 82min/color, DCP) 8:50pm Fri 6/24.

(P) “The Godfather” (1972, 177min/color, DCP)  Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.   3pm Sat 6/25.

Adventures_of_Robin_Hood_(1938) 1xs(P) “The Godfather Part II” (1974, 200min/color, DCP) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 7 pm Sat 6/25.

(P) “Ben-Hur” (1959, 212min/color, DCP) Directed by William Wyler.  3:30pm Sun 6/26.

(P) “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938, 102min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. 1pm Sun 6/26.

(P) “Intolerance” (1916, 170min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) Directed by D.W. Griffith. 7pm Tues 6/28.

(P) “Modern Times” (1936, 87min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, 35mm) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 7pm Wed 6/29.

(P) “The Kid” (1921, 53min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 8:45pm Wed 6/29.

(P) “Oklahoma!” (1955, 145min/color, DCP) Directed by Fred Zinnemann. 7pm Tues 7/5.

(P) “The King and I” (1956, 133min/color, DCP) Directed by Walter Lang. 7pm Wed 7/6.timthumb

(P) “Gigi” (1958, 115min/color, DCP) Directed by Vincente Minnelli. 7pm Thurs 7/7.

(P) “Moulin Rouge!” (2001, 127min/color, DCP) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. 9:15pm Thurs 7/7.

(P) “Dirty Dancing” (1987, 100min/color, DCP) Directed by Emile Ardolino. 7pm Fri 7/8.

(P) “Flashdance” (1983, 95min/color, 35mm) Director by Adrian Lyne 8:55pm Fri 7/8.

(P) “The Sound of Music” (1965, 174min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Wise. 3pm Sat 7/9.

(P) “Grease” (1978, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Randal Kleiser. 7pm Sat 7/9.

(P) “Magic Mike” (2012, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Soderbergh. 2pm, 6pm Sun 7/10.

(P) “Metropolis” (1927, 148min/b&w/silent w/English intertitles, DCP) 7pm Tues 7/12.

ThingPoster(P) “The Thing” (1982, 109min/color, 35mm) Directed by John Carpenter. 7pm Wed 7/13, 9:15pm Thurs 7/14.

(P) “Blade Runner” (1982, 118min/color, DCP) Directed by Ridley Scott. 9:05pm Wed 7/13, 7pm Thurs 7/14.

(P) “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001, 228min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 7pm Fri 7/15.

(P) “The Two Towers” (2002, 235min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 2pm Sat 7/16.

(P) “The Return of the King” (2003, 263min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Jackson. 2pm Sun 7/17.

(P) ”Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986, 106min/color, 35mm) Directed by Woody Allen. 7pm Tues 7/19, 8:50pm Wed 7/20.

(P) “Annie Hall” (1977, 93min/color, 35mm) Directed by Woody Allen. 9:05pm Tues 7/19, 7pm Wed 7/20.

(P) “The Graduate” (1967, 106min/color, DCP) Directed by Mike Nichols. 7pm Thurs 7/21.Original_movie_poster_for_the_film_Who's_Afraid_of_Virginia_Woolf-

(P) “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, 131min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Mike Nichols. 9:05pm Thurs 7/21.

(S) “M*A*S*H” (1970, 116min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Altman. 2pm Sun 7/24

(S) “Nashville” (1975, 159min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Altman. 4:15pm Sun 7/24.

(P) “Computer Chess” (2013, 93min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Andrew Bujalski. 7pm Fri 7/22.

(P) “Adaptation” (2002, 115min/color, 35mm) Directed by Spike Jonze. 7pm Tues 7/26.

(P) “BBill_&_Tedarton Fink” (1991, 116min/color, 35mm) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen  9:10pm Tues 7/26.

(P) “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. 7pm Wed 7/27, 8:45pm Thurs 7/28.

(P) “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989, 90min/color, DCP) Directed by Stephen Herek. 8:50pm Wed 7/27, 7pm Thurs 7/28.

(S) “Hoop Dreams” (1994, 172min/color, DCP) Directed by Steve James. 7pm Fri 7/29.

(P) “Batman: The Movie” (1966, 105min/color, 35mm) Directed by Leslie H. Martinson. 2pm Sat 7/30.

(P) “Goodfellas” (1990, 145min/color, DCP) Directed by Martin Scorsese. 3:30pm Sat 7/30, 6:55pm Sun 7/31.

(P) “Reservoir Dogs” (1992, 99min/color, DCP) Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 6:10pm Sat 7/30, 5pm Sun 7/31.

(P) “The Age of Innocence” (1993, 139min/color, DCP) Directed by Martin Scorsese. 7pm Tues 8/2.

(P) “Romeo + Juliet” (1996, 120min/color, DCP) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. 7pm Wed 8/3.Orlando_film_poster

(P) “Orlando” (1992, 94min/color, 35mm) Directed by Sally Potter. 9:15pm Wed 8/3.

(P) “The Italian Job” (1969, 99min/color, DCP) Directed by Peter Collinson. 7pm Thurs 8/4, 9:20pm Fri 8/5.

(P) “How to Steal a Million” (1966, 123min/color, DCP) Directed by William Wyler. 8:55pm Thurs 8/4, 7pm Fri 8/5.

(P) “Aladdin” (1992, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. 1pm Sat 8/6.

(P) “Jaws” (1975, 124min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 3:15pm Sat 8/6, 4:30pm Sun 8/7.

(P) “Jurassic Park” (1993, 127min/color, DCP) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 5:30pm Sat 8/6, 2pm Sun 8/7.

Persona_Poster(P) “Persona” (1966, 84min/b&w/Swedish w/ English subtitles, 35mm) Directed by Ingmar Bergman. 7pm Tues 8/9.

(P) “Blow-Up” (1966, 110min/color, DCP) Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. 8:40pm Tues 8/9.

(P) ”Beauty and the Beast” (1946, 93min/b&w/French w/ English subtitles, 35mm) Directed by Jean Cocteau.7pm Wed 8/10, 9:30pm Thurs 8/11.

(P) “The Red Shoes” (1948, 133min/color, 35mm) Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. 8:50pm Wed 8/10, 7pm Thurs 8/11.

(S) “Ran” (1985, 162min/color/Japanese w/English subtitles, DCP) Directed by Akira Kurosawa. 3:45pm Sun 8/14.

(P) “Annie” (1982, 128min/color, DCP) Directed by John Huston. 1pm Sun 8/14.

(P) “The 39 Steps” (1935, 86min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7pm Tues 8/16, 9:15pm Wed 8/17.

(P) “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956, 120min/color, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 8:45pm Tues 8/16, 7pm Wed 8/17.

(S) “Notorious” (1946, 101min/b&w, digital) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7:15pm Tues 8/16, 9:10 pm Wed 8/17.

(S) “The Lady Vanishes” (1938, 97min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 9:15pm Tues 8/16, 7:15 pm Wed 8/17.Strangers_on_a_Train_(film)

(P) “Strangers on a Train” (1951, 101min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 7pm Thurs 8/18, 9 pm Fri 8/19.

(P) “Suspicion” (1941, 99min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. T9:00pm Thurs 8/18, 7pm Fri 8/19.

(P) “Rear Window” (1954, 112min/color, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 4pm Sat 8/20, 4pm Sun 8/21.

(P) “Psycho” (1960, 109min/b&w, 35mm) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 6:05pm Sat 8/20, 2pm Sun 8/21.

(P) “Mary PoppinsIndiana_Jones_and_the_Last_Crusade_A” (1964, 140min/color, DCP) Directed by Robert Stevenson. 1pm Sat 8/20.

(P) “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968, 160min/color, 70mm) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 7pm Tues 8/23, 7pm Wed 8/24.

(P) “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989, 127min/color, 70mm) Directed by Steven Spielberg. 7pm Thurs 8/25, 7pm Fri 8/26.

(P) “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962, 216min/color, 70mm) Directed by David Lean. 3pm Sat 8/27, 2pm Sun 8/28.

(P) “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953, 91min/color, DCP) Directed by Howard Hawks. 7pm Tues 8/30, 9:20pm Wed 8/31.

(P) “Some Like It Hot” (1959, 121min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Billy Wilder. 8:50pm Tues 8/30, 7pm Wed 8/31.

(P) “East of Eden” (1955, 115min/color, DCP) Directed by Elia Kazan.  7pm Thurs 9/1, 9:10pm Fri 9/2.338px-Kingkong33newposter

(P) “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955, 111min/color, DCP)  Directed by Nicholas Ray. 9:10pm Thurs 9/1, 7pm Fri 9/2.

(P) “Giant” (1956, 201min/color, DCP) Directed by George Stevens. 3:30pm Sat 9/3

(P) “King Kong” (1933, 104min/b&w, DCP) Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedstack. 1pm Sat 9/3.

(P) “Gone with the Wind” (1939, 238min/color, 35mm) Directed by Victor Fleming.

This is what it’s like to watch ‘Top Gun’ for the first time as a millennial

In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise is shown in a promotional image for the 1986 film, "Top Gun." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)
In this film publicity image released by Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise is shown in a promotional image for the 1986 film, “Top Gun.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

One day in our little newsroom, my colleagues and I started talking about the movie “Top Gun.” I can’t remember how the conversation began, but the discussion grew more passionate after my co-worker and I confessed that after nearly a quarter century on Earth each, we had never taken the highway to the “Danger Zone.” I had never even seen a Tom Cruise film, a fact that emerged after a scroll through his IMDb page. Let me stress that I was surprised by how controversial this little factoid turned out to be on social media.

Conveniently enough, a few days after our lively discussion,  our fantastic movie critic Joe Gross received a copy of the 30th anniversary “Top Gun” DVD package, dropped it on my colleague Amanda O’Donnell’s desk and set us with the task of watching it together. After a couple weeks of scheduling conflicts (and lots of “You have never seen Top Gun?” remarks), we set aside a night to watch the film along some of her roommates, our fellow web desk staffers and my boyfriend. About half of the group had seen the movie before.

I think it’s important that everyone knows that my knowledge of this film comes almost 100 percent from the “I Love the ’80s” series on VH1 (RIP). This boiled down to:

  • Tom Cruise is a pilot named Maverick
  • “Danger Zone” was the soundtrack theme
  • Val Kilmer for some reason chomps his teeth at Tom Cruise
  • “Take My Breath Away” was a big hit
  • The characters play volleyball and everyone is sweaty and flexing
  • One of the pilots was named “Goose” (Anthony Edwards)

Here’s how our viewing party went:

“Cougar” was a pilot who had an episode of anxiety, and Maverick and Goose get his spot at Top Gun, which I learned was both a place and a distinction.

I probably missed something, but how did *no one* in the bar realize Maverick was trying to hit on a woman who was an instructor at Top Gun?

I just didn’t understand why Tom Cruise seemed to be the annoying class clown/guy who always made smart remarks, yet he gets rewarded. No matter: Iceman (Kilmer) will show him what’s up.

The volleyball scene … Volleyball is my absolute favorite sport to play, so I can’t blame anyone for getting sweaty. But there’s a lot of sweat, and it lasts the entirety of the movie. This scene also has a lot of not-so-subtle muscle flexing. And jeans?

As for the women of Top Gun, Kelly McGillis’ character, Charlie, is a strong, seemingly independent woman just trying to make it in a man’s world. She is too good for Maverick, and I was so over their love scene because “Take My Breath Away” had played probably 17 times leading up to it. Meg Ryan and her seriously bad hair, on the other hand, loves attention, basically shouting to everyone that Maverick has a thing for his instructor and that Goose needed to take her to bed ASAP.

Spoiler alert: Goose dies after ejecting his seat because of some risky flying, but everyone chalks it up as an accident and goes about their business while Cruise seems to brood over the loss of his buddy.

Everyone finishes Top Gun training, with Iceman taking home the trophy. From there, the pilots are put on an airship and go into battle. Maverick obviously saves the day and despite him and Iceman almost never getting along while at Top Gun, they smile and hug each other and it’s kind of beautiful in an almost-romantic-but-not-really way.

I learned there are a lot of emotional attachments to “Top Gun” from my colleagues who watched the movie when it was first released. One even said the film made him want to join the Navy.

All in all, I liked “Top Gun.” It’s extremely campy, with some odd dialogue, bad singing and lots of muscles, sweat and plane-flying.

That being said, I think I can go on without hearing “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” ever again.

 

 

Alamo Drafthouse CEO responds to texting in theaters

Update, 4/15: AMC Theatres tweeted on Friday that the company would not be allowing texting at its locations after all.

Earlier: AMC Entertainment’s CEO Adam Aron, who has headed the company for about four months, said this week that he may allow texting in movie theaters as part of an effort to attract younger audiences.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is part of the Lamar Union development on south Lamar Blvd. Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is part of the Lamar Union development on south Lamar Blvd. May 12, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

“When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow,” Aron said in an interview with Variety magazine.

But today, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League issued a news release stating the he disagrees with Aron.

“Innovation in this direction could seriously hurt our industry,” League wrote.

See below to read League’s full statement.

First off, I’d like to say that I am very excited for Adam Aron to be taking the helm at AMC.  I am a fan of the Starwood Hotel and Resort brand and the customer experience that his former company consistently delivers.  Bringing that leadership focus to our industry will undoubtedly yield positive results and drive healthy, innovative competition.

That said, I disagree with his statements on texting in a movie theater. Innovation in this direction could seriously hurt our industry.

My first objection stems from cinema’s relationship with directors and producers, the content creators.  Auteurs focus for years to complete their films.  We as exhibitors rely completely on these creators for our content and have an unwritten obligation to present their films in the best possible way: on a big screen with big sound and a bright picture in a silent, dark room.   You can only be immersed in a story if you are focused on it.  If while watching a film you are intermittently checking your email, posting on social media, chatting with friends, etc., there is no way you are fully engaged in the story on screen.  I find that to be disrespectful to the creators, those who make the very existence of cinema possible.  

My second objection stems from the generalization of millennial behavior. 

“When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.”   – Adam Aron, quoted in Variety

22-year-olds aren’t alone; heavy cell phone use is far more widespread.  Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, a staggering increase from 35% just five years ago.   

I spend a great deal of my life on my phone, too.  I check news, social media and email obsessively.  If there is the slightest of lulls in my day, a 20 second pause in an elevator, for example, I impulsively break out my phone and check something.  I always carry an external battery because I can’t make it through the day on the standard power.  I am not alone. According to some reports, the average American checks their phone over 100 times a day. 

This isn’t just a millennial behavior, it is a global attention span epidemic.  

Regardless of your age, turning off your phone and focusing on a good movie is much-needed therapy.  This time of focus in a darkened room is core to the experience of cinema.  Only with this focus can you lose yourself completely in the story and really fall into the magic spell of the movies. 

Plenty has already been written about glowing screens and unchecked chatter driving people from the cinema experience, so I won’t belabor that point further.  And I’m fine with “second screen” experimentation with regards to alternative content, gaming, interactive screenings, etc.  

But when it comes to our core business, creating a special environment for our customers to experience new stories for the first time, there is absolutely no place for the distraction of a lit phone screen.  

At the Alamo Drafthouse we are actively engaged in trying to make sure cinema remains a compelling destination for young people, and I agree this should be a focus for the whole industry.  I just don’t believe that this line of experimentation is the right tactic. A firm policy against talking and texting in the cinema is about respect: for the filmmakers and fellow cinephiles of all ages. 

Outside of this issue, however, I look forward to being challenged and inspired by what innovations and enhancements Adam Aron brings to the cinema experience.